1/4 Photos of French Onion Soup: the Cook's Illustrated Way
5 hrs 35 mins
I used to caramelize the onions on the stove top, but now I use this fantastic method. Finally, a way to make genuine French Onion Soup without all of the stirring. While it still takes quite some time, the onions are roasted in the oven. Sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, will make this recipe overly sweet, so use Yellow or Red, or a combo of both. Use broiler-safe crocks and keep the rim of the bowls 4 to 5 inches from the broiler to obtain a proper melting of the cheeses. Cooks Illustrated chefs prefer using Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Pacific Beef Broth, tho others will do fine as well. There is actually more flavor and depth in chicken broth than in beef and that is why they combine it with the beef broth. Much of the cooking time is passive...and the aroma makes the kitchen smell divine! For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance, it also freezes well in 2 gallon freezer bags. Prep time includes the soup and the croutons. Cooking time is approximate, please use your judgment. I make this every Christmas Eve along with appetizers and those that missed Christmas Eve INSIST on having a bowl on Christmas morning! LOL It truly is the best French Onion Soup I have ever tasted. For those special occasions, try this one. Hope you enjoy!
My Private Note
Units: US | Metric
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
- 6 large yellow onions, halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 pounds)
- 2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
- ground black pepper
- cheese crouton
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 4 1/2 ounces swiss cheese, sliced 1/16-inch thick
- 1 1/2 ounces grated asiago cheese (about 3/4 cup)
- 1For the soup:.
- 2Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400°. Generously spray inside of heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray.
- 3Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume).
- 4Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.
- 5Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat.
- 6Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly.
- 7Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.)
- 8Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes.
- 9Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown.
- 10Stir in wine and balsamic vinegar, stirring frequently, until wine evaporates, about 5 minutes.
- 11Stir in broths, 2 cups water, the thyme, bay leaf and parsley (tied with twine or wrapped in cheese cloth for easy removal from pot) and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot.
- 12Increase heat to high and bring to simmer.
- 13Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 14For the croutons: While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- 15To serve: Adjust oven rack 4 to 6 inches from broiler and heat broiler.
- 16Set heat-safe soup bowls or crocks on rimmed baking sheet and fill each with about 1 1/2 cups soup.
- 17Top each bowl with two toasted baguette slices (try not to overlap) and divide Swiss cheese slices, laying them in a single layer, if possible, on bread.
- 18Sprinkle each serving with about 2 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese and broil until well browned and bubbly, 7 to 10 minutes.
- 19If using regular soup bowls, broil the toasts and the cheese only and then place the toasts on top of the soup.
- 20Cool 5 minutes and serve.
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Nutritional Facts for French Onion Soup: the Cook's Illustrated Way
Serving Size: 1 (680 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 6
- Amount Per Serving
- % Daily Value
- Calories 726.9
- Calories from Fat 144
- Total Fat 16.0 g
- Saturated Fat 8.7 g
- Cholesterol 34.8 mg
- Sodium 1272.1 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 114.1 g
- Dietary Fiber 6.6 g
- Sugars 11.6 g
- Protein 31.6 g
The following items or measurements are not included:
fresh parsley leaves